The Browns won once last season. And for their troubles, they’re the not-so-proud owners of the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. In general, the expectation is that a terrible team in desperate need of a franchise quarterback would address that glaring shortcoming with the aforementioned pick. Except that there is a dearth of franchise-quarterbacking talent at the top of this draft, which is why nearly every mock draft projects Cleveland to instead go the safe route and take all-world pass rusher Myles Garrett out of Texas A&M.
This assumes, of course, that the Patriots don’t fire up their mind-control machine and force the Browns to trade the No. 1 pick -- and, hell, while they’re at it, the Nos. 12 and 33 selections, and left tackle Joe Thomas, too -- as part of the deal that will send much-coveted Tom Brady backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, to Cleveland. Except that any trade for Garoppolo involving the Browns won’t include the first-overall pick. We know this because coach Hue Jackson admitted as much this week.
“No. No. I can tell you no on that one, no,’’ he said, via Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot when asked if trading the No.1 pick is an option, though he didn’t speak in specifics about Garoppolo.
“You guys know I can’t speak about that,” he said. “We’re going to do anything and everything we think we can but I can’t comment on other teams’ players at this point.”
Jackson added: “Until we have the guy that we feel comfortable with that will be the face of our franchise, and play QB the way we want them to play, we’re going to keep searching. ... There’s the draft that’s coming up. There’s trade opportunities hopefully. We’ll exhaust every opportunity.”
Meanwhile, the Browns’ most recent backfield addition, Brock Osweiler, remains an option. Sort of.
“I’m not saying we can’t make something out of Brock Osweiler,’’ Jackson said. “Maybe we can. I’ve never had an opportunity to work with him. But what I want to do at some point in time is put a quarterback on our football team that we all feel very comfortable with, that we feel can be everything that we want him to be and I’m not saying any of the guys can’t be that yet. But we need to go do this in a way that we feel comfortable with. When the 17th of April comes, we’ll treat him just like he’s one of ours as I’ve said until he’s not.”
As it stands, the Browns’ depth chart at quarterback includes Osweiler, 2016 third-round pick Cody Kessler and 2016 fifth-rounder Kevin Hogan. So yeah, there’s some work to do. In case you’re wondering, in the latest round of CBSSports.com mock drafts, all six writers have the Browns taking Garrett first overall, and four have them grabbing quarterback Mitch Trubisky at No. 12.